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COMESA, IOM sign deal to improve regional cross-border trade

The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) have signed a memorandum of understanding to help small-scale cross-border traders who conduct their businesses across borders in the region.

The program, financed by the 11th European Development Fund (EDF), will benefit small-scale traders who cross borders to sell and buy good as well as associations that represent their interests.

Sindiso Ngwenya, the Secretary-General of Africa's largest trading bloc, said during the signing ceremony at the secretariat in Lusaka, that the program will increase formalisation of informal cross border trade and enhance trade flows, a situation that will result in increased incomes for the small traders.

Charles Kwenin, IOM Regional Director, said the organization will support the program through building institutional capacity, improve border management, infrastructure as well as improve data monitoring.

The Cross-Border Trade Initiative is a four-year project launched early this year aimed at addressing challenges faced by small-scale cross border traders in the region.

It aims to facilitate small-scale cross-border trade flows through improved border management, upgraded border infrastructures and better data collection and monitoring